How Does Low-E Glass Make Windows Energy Efficient?

Window insulation has come a long way in the last decade. For a long time, homeowners used to rely on heavy drapes and window coverings to keep the cold air out. But it has changed now!

Today's advanced window insulation technologies make it possible to keep your homes warm and cozy without sacrificing natural light.

Low-E glass windows are one of the most hyped-up products in that regard. But what exactly is low-E glass, and how does it make windows more energy efficient? Keep reading to find out.

What A Low-E Glass Window Is?

A Low-E (emissivity) glass window is designed to be more energy efficient than traditional windows. It is made by coating the glass with a thin layer of material that reflects infrared light while still allowing visible light to pass through.

This structure helps keep heat inside during the cold days and outside during the summer, making your home more comfortable and saving you money on your energy bills.

Low-E glass can be used in windows and doors and is often used in combination with other energy-efficient materials like argon gas and double or triple glazing.

Below are a few reasons why you should consider Low-E glass if you are looking for an energy-efficient window:

• Insulating Power: Low-E glass provides better insulation than standard window glass. This is because it doesn't allow heat to pass through as easily. Low-e glass also reflects ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause fading of carpets, furniture, and drapes.

• Energy Efficiency: Low-E glass is more energy efficient than standard window glass because it doesn't allow heat to get through. This means that your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, which will help you save money on your energy bills.

• Reduced Glare: Low-E glass helps reduce glare from the sun, which can be beneficial if you work from home or enjoy spending time in your backyard. It also helps reduce the number of UV rays entering your home, protecting your upholstery.

• Impressive Solar Gain Statistics: Low-E glass can reduce solar gain by up to 71%, which means that your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

• Cost Effective: Low-E glass is more cost-effective than standard window glass because it is more energy efficient. This means that you will save money on your energy bills, which can offset the initial cost of the window.

• Aesthetics: Low-E glass can give your home a more modern look and feel. The glass is also available in various colors and tints, which can help you create the perfect look for your home.

Now that you know what Low-E glass is and how it may benefit you let's look at the types of Low-E coatings.

Types Of Low-E Coatings

Low-E coatings have the following two types; hard-coat and soft-coat.

• Passive (Or Hard-Coat) Low-E Coatings

This is the stronger coating between the two types and offers more durability than a soft-coat Low-E coating.

In theory, hard-coat Low-E coating glass is made when the coating is applied to the glass during production or when it just comes out of the furnace. The coatings are usually oxide layers, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, and are essentially welded onto the glass surface.

Since the coatings are applied when the glass is hot, the bond between the coating and the glass surface is stronger. This strong bond or fusions makes passive Low-E coating extra durable. This is why hard coat Low-E coatings are used in office buildings, retail stores, and high-rise buildings.

In addition to being an energy-efficient choice for windows, hard-coat Low-E glass has several other benefits. For example, the metal oxide coating on the glass helps to protect against ultraviolet (UV) rays, making it an ideal choice for windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight.

However, the most notable benefit of a passive Low-E glass coating is that it allows you to keep your home warm without depending on a heating system.

• Solar Control (Or Soft-Coat) Low-E Coatings

Compared to passive Low-E coating, the solar control Low-E coating is applied to the glass that has already passed the production process.

In this case, the glass's coating process is completed in a vacuum chamber. The chamber is first filled with an electrically charged inert gas, and the glass is brought into it.

The combination of electrical particles and the vacuum triggers metal molecules to strike gently on the glass surface. This light striking of metal particles is also known as "sputtering," Hence, this coating type is often called sputter coating.

The sputtering of particles results in a clear, invisible metal coating, also known as soft-coat Low-E coating or Solar Control coating.

The coating reflects heat, stops UV rays from entering the building, and keeps the inside cool. Another notable benefit is that it prevents fading of your house's furniture and fabrics.

How Does It Work And Make Windows Energy Efficient?

The ultra-thin Low-E coatings on glass are responsible for making windows energy efficient. These thin layers appear tinted and make the glass function like a “filter.”

Since these coatings are not just painted and are “fused” within the glass, they efficiently filter out heat waves concerning their wavelengths.

These Low-E coatings are equally capable of filtering out long infrared waves and short UV rays. Hence, one can easily make their windows energy efficient by choosing the right type of Low-E coating.

How To Lower Your Energy Bills?

As energy prices continue to rise, people are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption and save money.

Installing Low-E glass windows at home and office is an excellent way to reduce your energy consumption (and energy bills).

As explained above, Low-E glass's coating can both reflect heat away and conduct it inside. But how to use it to lower your energy bills?

Soft-coat Low-E glass windows will be ideal for you if you live in a place that needs to stay cool throughout the year. They will offer optimal UV protection and reflect the heat while preventing the inside cold air from leaking outside.

On the other hand, hard-coating Low-E glass would be the perfect option if you live in a cold place and want the sun's natural heat to be conducted inside. It will allow the sun's infrared (short) waves to pass through and keep your house's inside warm.

However, it all boils down to choosing the right Low-E coating for your needs!

September 21, 2022 — Della Wang

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